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Max Verstappen Claims Pole Position for Australian Grand Prix

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Australian Grand Prix, beating Mercedes drivers to the top spot. However, it wasn’t an easy run for Verstappen, who had to navigate a complex tyre picture on a cool day around a track resurfaced last year. The RB19 wasn’t as sweetly balanced as it was in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and Verstappen’s understeer through the final two corners was visible. The front tyres were under very low stress, with low grip levels and slow warm-up, making it extra complicated to get them hot enough for the flying lap.

Complex Tyre Picture and Cool Weather Challenge Red Bull

The new Tarmac around the track since last year made it challenging to get the tyres to work in Turn 1 and get that comfortable feeling into that corner. The low track temperatures and not much rubber build-up limited the tyre’s chemical grip, making it difficult to warm up. Red Bull’s underlying advantage was much reduced in this race, given Albert Park’s four DRS zones and the big advantage the Red Bull finds from any DRS running. The Q3 question became whether to do a conventional fast-cool-fast sequence or a prep lap followed by a fast, before then coming in for your next set of tyres.

Verstappen Criticizes Sprint Races

Verstappen criticized sprint races, saying they go against the DNA of Formula 1 and are about surviving rather than racing. He beat the Mercedes drivers to claim pole position for the Australian Grand Prix while his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez will start last after crashing in the first part of Formula 1 qualifying. McLaren is having its worst start to a Formula 1 season since the final year of its ill-fated Honda partnership in 2017, and the pace its MCL60 has shown so far in 2023 makes it all the more punishing.

Keywords: Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Australian Grand Prix, Mercedes, tyre grip, sprint races, McLaren.

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